Media is Mind Control: Afrika Bambaataa vs Hot 97

Media is mind control has long been a sentiment held by  folks who felt that deliberate distortions and mischaracterizations my broadcast media was a weapon that led to entire communities being dehumanized. We saw this take place in winter of 2004 when Hot 97 deejays got on air just two days after what many considered to be the worst natural disaster in history and made fun of the 200 thousand people who perished.

The Hip Hop community was outraged and came after Hot 97 led by an organization called REACH.. a big rally was held in front of the station where all sorts of artists and activists came out and spoke truth to power. Among the speakers was  Hip Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa and long time activist and former Green Party Vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente. We married their powerful words to some remarks made by Minister Louis Farrakhan on media and the way it influences people’s thinking.. Opening up the mashup is media justice advocate Malkia Cyril


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10 comments on “Media is Mind Control: Afrika Bambaataa vs Hot 97

  1. At some point we need to analyze the various campaigns against the media giants to see why we are still in the state we are in. There have been many “shut em down” operations over the years but yet when the dust settled the companies were still standing. Why is that?

    There has always been a economic/political strategy by the “powers that be” to absorb the opposition in a “borg” type “resistance is futile” manner.

    Another tactic has been the old “government jobs” type strategy used in the 70’s by Richard Nixon. I don’t know if you remember that old school movie “I’m Gonna Get You Sucker” but when Kenan Ivory Wayan’s character went looking for help from the leader of a once 5,000 man strong militant army he was told that “they went to protest and all got government jobs, then the brothers weren’t so angry anymore.”

    Just to be clear, I am not talking about REACH, just the Hip Hop anti-establishment movements over the last 20 years in general.

  2. The reason why media giants still stand was obvious in the shirley sherrod campaign.. negroes felt it was their duty to show up and cheese for Fox news.. Contrast with the way latinos handled CNN and Lou Dobbs.. You couldn’t find Brown folks who would go on CNN.. they said no to validating them..In fact many of the folks featured in Latinos in America were vocal in telling folks not to watch the show even though they were in in..

    Black folks could not wait to go on and show they face to Bill Oreilly Hannity and the rest after Sherrod.. many got pissed when it was suggested that perhaps they should fall back.. This desire to cheese for the enemy as activist is no different then the artists who insist on showing up to adversarial stations for airplay and interviews…

    Thats why those movements fail

  3. Peace Davey,

    I don’t know if that analogy fits my point. I think a better example would be, hypothetically, if an activist called for a day that people would turn off Fox News but Rupert Murdock gives him his own show and the campaign is called off. Of course Fox News couldn’t care less if every peson of color on the planet stopped watching. However, urban radio is a different story. The easiest shut em down operation would be to ask the hood to turn off the radio for one day. However, my point is, when actions like this are called for, something funny always happens. I know you’ve seen it a million times, call for a grassroots powe rmove against the industry and watch who comes out to defend the station/network. I’ve seen it up close years back when BET came to town on one of their tours when it was at it’s worst. To divert attention from the negative stuff, they pulled an okeydoke and went on local black radio promoting the live taping of their gospel show. All of a sudden the good church folks who always complained about the negative images weren’t so concerned anymore as they all wanted front row tickets to Bobby Jones Gospel.

  4. Paul its one and the same.. Urban Radio does not have Black people as its target audience.. Black males is last on the totem pole.. anyone telling u different is a liar.. tell em I said so.. Women are the target and if its one of those Hot 97 type stations.. its none Black women first 18-34..
    Turning off a radio doesn’t work unless they have ratings box or PPM.. from Arbitron.. So telling the hood to turn off the radio really doesn’t work per say.. bc in theory the hood ain’t the target..

    Now in terms of paying folks off..yes that goes on all the time.. It happened with us at KMEL..people were given tickets and promised radio shows.. and airtime.. This is why my analogy works.. Black people are used to validate.. If Fox News screws acorn or shirley sherrod and the next day Black folks are on there cheesing.. guess what? Fox wins no matter how u cut it.. U legitimized them and they in turn make money off the controversy you causes.. ie lets see Bill yell at Negroes over policies we hate.. is how the Fox Listener thinks..

    Lastly urban outlets are often owned or operated by larger companies.. that need to be shunned.. ie Clear Channel..

  5. What I am advocating is a discussion where we analyze the various efforts over the years (and no, I’m not exempt) to find out why we still keep starting at square one. I don’t know if the shut down radio plan has ever really been implemented,although it has been suggested. The reason is that when you deal with black or urban media, you are dealing with interlocking relationships. Somebody in the movement is going to have a relationship with somebody in the media which may prevent them from taking action. I’ll give you a prime example. When Rev. Sharpton went hard on the record industry a few years ago, he had to leave Black radio out of the equation because of his show on Radio One.

  6. And that’s just a part of life, as we all are limited in some capacity. However, it becomes problematic if someone sets up straw man operations to divert energy from the real thing. I remember that I once had a side conversation with one of the movers and shakers in Hip Hop. We were discussing what we could work on together and the bottom line was “if you see us coming just don’t interfere.

  7. People will always drape their words (and images) over situations in a manner that is partial and self-benefiting. It isn’t exclusive to “the media giants”.

    You can either be on the defensive complaining about FOX and other “media outlets” or be an entrepreneur who strives to create alternatives and get on the offensive.

    The entire process starts with taking the initiative to experiment and sketch out ideas and allocate x amount of time for a project once one is settled on.

    It might be years to find one that’s worthy of the effort and then years to develop and implement.

    This seems to be a protocol that’s gotten lost in the shuffle in place of a diffused outlook that gawks at pointless shit like FOX and “HOT 97” or whatever. Even focusing on that shit is a win for those people in this day and age no matter how critical you are.

    If you want to do something radical cultivate “on the offensive” alternatives that have the potential to garner a large support base and lead by example. If you can’t make that kind of commitment then none of this bullshit talk matters.

    BTW – The demographic of people who get their news from TV are getting older and the younger generation isn’t filling the void. So regardless of how big all those broadcasters appear they’re already yesterdays news.. and time will deal with them before you will.

Let us know what u think..

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